Venture studio Thesis* debuts Bitcoin utility product Mezo with $21M raise

Bitcoin layer-2 solutions continue to proliferate

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Thesis and Adobe Stock modified by Blockworks

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Venture production studio Thesis* has raised $21 million for a Bitcoin layer-2-like product called Mezo. The round was led by Pantera Capital and drew participation from Multicoin Capital, Hack VC and others. 

Dubbed a “Bitcoin Economic Layer,” Mezo is focused on providing fast and cheap Bitcoin transactions so the asset can have more real-world utility. Mezo lets participants in its network lock up their bitcoin in exchange for yield — a system Mezo calls “Proof of HODL.”

Mezo is the latest in a recent proliferation of so-called Bitcoin layer-2s that allow Bitcoin to be put to use beyond trading. Other prominent examples include Babylon and Stacks, which both attempt to offer Bitcoin users features like staking. BitVM has also emerged as a network scaling-focused layer-2. 

Read more: How will the Bitcoin halving impact Bitcoin L2s?

Thesis* founder Matt Luongo told Blockworks that Bitcoin experienced brain drain following the block size debate that raged between 2015 and 2017, causing app developers to grow frustrated with Bitcoin and begin working on other blockchains.

But the recent rise of Bitcoin Ordinals has signaled a shift in Bitcoin’s “overton window” where developers are once again interested in broadening Bitcoin’s utility outside of buying and selling, Luongo said. 

Read more: Ordinals are driving up Bitcoin fees — but that may be good for the network

Luongo said he became interested in Bitcoin utility when he was told off by a mortgage lender for trying to use his bitcoin while buying a home.

“I have the hardest money in the world, and this feels like a criminal discussion just because I’m trying to buy a house,” Luongo recalled. He listed mortgages, payroll, credit card points, treasury yield and decentralized social media as use cases that could be connected to Bitcoin through Mezo’s network. 

Thesis* is a venture production studio, meaning it builds some startups like Mezo in-house. Its other projects include bitcoin cashback app Fold and bitcoin bridging platform Threshold. Threshold offers tBTC, a tokenized version of bitcoin held on the Ethereum blockchain, which will be supported on Mezo at launch. 

Calling Bitcoin projects layer-2s can get touchy, since some such solutions are actually sidechains that connect to Bitcoin through a two-way bridge. Mezo calls itself an economic layer for Bitcoin to avoid the “circus” around protocol nomenclature. 

“The entire terminology debate around L2 is completely irrelevant. Users don’t care,” Luongo said.


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